Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR — Transportation bills now headed to negotiations in the state Capitol include increases in funding, but members of the Area Transportation Partnership for Southwest Minnesota are not optimistic that the region's needs will be met.
ST. PAUL — Landowners are learning what types of alternative practices will be allowed as options to meet Minnesota's new buffer law. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources released a list of six possible options Thursday that are meant to serve as guidance to landowners considering alternative practices, according to John Jaschke, the board's executive director. He emphasized that the six options being announced now are not the only alternative practices that will be allowed.
WILLMAR — Chelsey Scherie Kalkbrenner, 28, of Paynesville, made her first appearance Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar on felony charges of burglary in the second degree and theft, along with a misdemeanor charge of intentional damage to property. The complaint alleges that she entered a home on 240th Avenue Northeast of New London when she knew its owner would be gone and took a cash box containing $2,676 in cash, $306.74 in change, and an old iPod Nano in January.
WILLMAR — A defendant was placed on probation for 10 years and ordered to pay restitution for his role in the January 2016 burglary of stores in the Kandi Mall. Sylvestre Solis, 28, of Watertown, South Dakota, appeared Monday for sentencing in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar. He was ordered to serve 60 days in jail for a felony second-degree burglary conviction, but the court stayed imposition of the sentence for 10 years provided he makes restitution. If not working, he must perform community service work to pay for fines.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved a bill aimed at reopening the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, announced Tuesday in a news release. Its approval in the House assures that the measure will be considered as House and Senate conference committees consider legislation. Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, has authored a companion bill in the Senate.
WILLMAR — A man accused of assaulting a woman and later threatening a good Samaritan who helped her pleaded guilty Monday to charges in these and two other cases. Darren Gregory Melges, 45, of Spicer, entered the guilty pleas in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar. He pleaded guilty to felony second-degree assault, felony threats of violence, and felony charges of illegal possession of ammunition/firearm, fifth-degree marijuana possession, and storage of methamphetamine paraphernalia in the presence of a child from separate criminal cases.
BENSON — Here's how far and wide the fame of the Benson Bakery reaches. When Toby Johannessen's neighbor returned from a camping trip to Alaska, he reported that the ranger who handled his registration took one look at his address and told him matter-of-factly: "There's a good bakery there in Benson.'' Now it's official, as the bakery's second-generation patriarch Jerry Johannessen was inducted March 4 into the Upper Midwest Bakery Association Hall of Fame. The association honored Jerry in the lifetime achievement category during its annual convention in St. Cloud.
DAWSON — Doug Woolverton performs at famous venues around the world, alongside talent that most recently included Aretha Franklin, and most importantly, before audiences who appreciate his talents as being among the country's best. Where do you get a start to make a career like this possible? The Lac qui Parle Valley High School, which is just down the road from the Dawson Memorial Auditorium, where Woolverton and the Beginnings, a New York City-based tribute band to Chicago will perform on April 7.
LITCHFIELD — Noelle Anise Pridgen, 29, will serve a 50-month prison sentence for a fiery vehicle crash that killed a Litchfield woman. District Judge Stephanie Beckman sentenced Pridgen on Monday in Meeker County District Court to 50 months in prison on a felony conviction for criminal vehicular homicide. The judge also sentenced her to a concurrent sentence of 28 months in prison on a second count of criminal vehicular homicide, and to 365 days in jail on third- and fourth-degree counts of the charge, also to be served concurrently.
UPPER SIOUX COMMUNITY — The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld a driving while impaired conviction in Yellow Medicine County which resulted from a traffic stop during which a squad car's video recording device stopped operating. In a decision issued Monday, the court ruled that the district court in Yellow Medicine County had not erred when it denied a motion by the defense to suppress evidence from the arrest. However, the ruling came with a warning by Chief Judge Edward Cleary in support of concerns expressed by District Court Judge Thomas Van Hon in this case.